In the midst of Black Lives Matter protests shaking up hundreds of American cities and towns, the third week of June heralded two momentous Supreme Court decisions: on June 15, the Supreme Court ruled that job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal; today, June 18, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle DACA, the program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. On this day, June 18, Kentuckians have an additional reason to feel pride: during his daily briefing, Governor Andy Beshear signed a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth National Freedom Day in the commonwealth of Kentucky. He made a commitment to ask the legislature to recognize it as a state holiday and stated: “Recognition of Juneteenth reflects the commonwealth’s resounding belief in liberty and equality for every citizen and commemorates the strength and courage of African Americans. It’s time. It’s the right thing to do.” Today, Kremena and I offer you the following words of our fellow Lexingtonian and friend Jenna as she reflects on Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, on the ongoing struggle for human rights and dignity, and on the need to carry on. Lujza and Joy are part of the same story, as are all of us. — Jenna: “As I reflect on Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, I can’t help but think of Aimee Stephens who was fired 7 years ago for transitioning at her dream job and who died a month short of this monumental victory. While many celebrate this historic ruling, a part of me finds it hard to bask in victory on a ruling about basic human rights that should not have to be debated in 2020. I am comforted, however, by the 6-3 ruling. Coming out and/or transitioning on the job elicits an extraordinary amount of anxiety and fear. Trans persons who have previously experienced a coming out know all too well the reality of discovering those in your life that support you and those who reject you … it is never fully predictable. Unfortunately for many, the fear and anxiety of discrimination will never fully end. When I transitioned many moons ago, the advice I received let me know I would most probably be protected during my transition … for at least the first 6 months. Not every business wants to risk a lawsuit, you see, and if you are not liked, you may have a target on your back. Mind your P’s and Q’s and dot every I and cross every T. Those unwritten rules … you better follow them. Those policies and procedures that everybody else can break and not get in trouble … don’t you dare. Does this sound familiar? It should. Our black brothers and sisters have faced these same hurdles for decades—having to be twice as good to live up to your privileged (white) counterparts and colleagues. We stand here some 50 years after the civil rights acts was passed and still we fight against racism and the right for black Americans to have basic human rights. Our enemies know how to wait and plot, which is why it is soooo important to stay vigilant. Many in the LGBTQ+ community couldn’t imagine that after the 2015 Supreme Court decision to grant same-sex couples the right to marry we would be in our current state of affairs. And we cannot lay all the blame on our current President either as hatred runs deep in our country. We must carry on the good fight; today, tomorrow, and always.”


Jenna: “As I reflect on Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, I can’t help

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Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.